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Tuesday 28 July 2015

High Blood Sugar May Boost Alzheimer's Risk

High blood sugar associated with prediabetes may increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that insulin resistance -- higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar that often precede type 2 diabetes -- was related to poorer performance on memory tests taken by late-middle-age adults.

"The findings are interesting because people with diabetes are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, but we are only now learning why they may be at increased risk," said lead researcher Barbara Bendlin, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The study results suggest that insulin resistance could increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease by altering the way the brain uses sugar (glucose), which is its primary fuel, she said.

However, "by altering insulin resistance in midlife, it may be possible to reduce future risk of Alzheimer's disease," Bendlin said. Medications and a healthy lifestyle are possible ways to do that, she said.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and more than half of adults older than 64 have prediabetes. Poor diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are associated with insulin resistance, Bendlin noted.

"Healthier lifestyles may contribute to healthier brain aging by reducing insulin resistance," Bendlin said.

One expert cautioned that having prediabetes, or insulin resistance, doesn't mean you're doomed to develop Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.

This study shows that insulin resistance may make mental functioning worse and may be linked to reduced use of insulin in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease, but this does not mean that insulin resistance leads to Alzheimer's, said Dr. Luca Giliberto, an investigator at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y.

"We do not know what causes Alzheimer's disease," said Giliberto, who was not involved in the study. "We don't know if lowering blood sugar will prevent Alzheimer's."

For the study, Bendlin's team gave memory tests to 150 adults with no mental impairments, at average age of 61. The researchers also measured insulin resistance and had the participants undergo a PET brain scan.

More than two-thirds of the participants had a parent who suffered from Alzheimer's, about 40 percent had a gene mutation associated with increased Alzheimer's risk and roughly 5 percent had type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

The researchers found insulin resistance was associated with poorer processing of sugar throughout the brain. Worse performance in immediate memory was linked to lower sugar metabolism in the left medial temporal lobe, the authors said.

The report was published July 27 online in JAMA Neurology.

Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said it appears there may be a difference "between the dementia related to full-blown diabetes, which seems to be primarily dementia caused by hardening of the arteries in the brain, and the mental impact of insulin resistance, which some investigators believe is associated with Alzheimer's."

In the brain, insulin helps transmit messages between cells, he noted.

"We have long thought of Alzheimer's as a disease of defective brain signaling," said Gandy, who had no role in the study. "Conceivably, there is also a disease of defective insulin signaling, which this paper would support."

If that's true, Gandy added, "then efforts at sensitizing the brain to insulin, using drugs such as pioglitazone [Actos, a diabetes drug], would make sense and might well lead to slowing of degeneration."

Giliberto recommended healthy living as the best way to keep blood sugar under control and perhaps protect mental health.

"Increasing our health by reducing fats, reducing sugar, improving insulin resistance may reduce the risk of other factors, such as diabetes, on the susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease and mental decline," Giliberto said.



Launna said...

I more that I read about all the different health issues that have popped up or come to the forefront, makes me see more and more about refined products that came out about the same time all these things showed up, how can anyone not see the signs... it blows me away... xox

Anonymous said...

But is Actos safe?
Thought there were problems associated with it. Best to stay away from highly processed foods and sugars.

Cranberry Morning said...

It also bothers me that people think they can increase grains and go meatless and get a balanced diet. Very few eat adequate protein without meat in their diets. Interesting blog! Thanks for visiting today.

Lowcarb team member said...

Anonymous said...
"But is Actos safe?
Thought there were problems associated with it. Best to stay away from highly processed foods and sugars.

I would not touch Actos with a barge pole, it's banned in some countries.


Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Troll

Chuffed to see you are still hanging on my every word. How much time do you spend a day following me? So many comments, so much time, and 99% deleted. Just spending your life waiting with excited anticipation that one comment might get approved.

Don't get me wrong I love the way you add to our page views, perhaps you could ramp up your rants to over ten a day.

Have a great day


Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Launna - many thanks for your comment. Eating whole real fresh foods just has to be so much better than the many 'refined products' that are available.

Eating a template of Lower Carbs, Higher Healthy Fats and Moderate Protein is the choice for me.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Judy (Cranberry Morning) ... lovely to see you at the low carb diabetic blog, we try our best to publish a wide variety of articles - something for everyone, we hope.

It is interesting to read your comment here, because my food template is lower carb, higher healthy fat and moderate protein.

Thanks again for visiting.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

@’Shooting Blanks’

Were have you been you demented old troll? I was beginning to think you had been sectioned again.

During your confinement you will be delighted to know that we are still annoying all the right people, phoenix has even resorted to the occult to try and silence us by casting a spell on us (a plague on your houses).

I've long suspected a coven has been operating within the DCUK forum, the cherub must of course be head of the coven so does that make you the witches bitch.

Keep taking the pills sweetie
Love and hugs